1. Chipper

    Chipper

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    Good morning - following a post in a thread yesterday, about plans for 2014, I thought I would ask if members have any tips/ thoughts ideas in preparing for an A with the RPS. I find out next week whether this will be the plot for this year [waiting for information about a course that I might be on] so all your thoughts very welcome. Happy New year. :)
     
  2. CharlotteM

    CharlotteM

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    Are you planning to submit the photo panel or one of the other options? What genre do you shoot?

    I don't have much helpful to add, I'm just nosey and planning to take mine this year.
     
  3. DuncanDisorderly

    DuncanDisorderly

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    How long ago did you get your 'L'?
    Which category do you have in mind?
    Have you read the submission guide (downloadable)?

    My top tip - get yourself signed up for a workshop and/or attend an acceptance day as a spectator.
    Either of those will help you get a feel for what is expected.
     
  4. meonshore

    meonshore

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    ^^This
     
  5. Chipper

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    Hi there - thanks for your thoughts - do keep them coming! - I gained my 'L' in Focus last year - at the last Focus as it turned out - wondering what the new show will be like. Anyway, I shot some sport - surfing, cycling, eventing,kayaking - a still life or two, a waterfall, a couple of birds…. I suppose that makes me a bit of a butterfly. I went on a day in London 'What now after L?' but didn't really get as much from the day as I had hoped and then work and life just got in the way! My main interest is sport but getting access is quite difficult. I like landscape as well but, and sorry for the second but, because of my job, I don't have the time to sit and wait in spectacular places for the light to fall on the land, as somebody put it. I think it might end up being sport once my shoulder has recovered from an injury as I have the gear for it. I also have pondered doing something around school - it winds me up how everybody,especially the secretary of state for education, slags off schools - but then there is the issue of permissions from parents and so on. I was told that sport would probably be in the Professional and Applied section - haven't seen one of those at a weekend for a long time but will keep my eyes open. I read in the magazine this week that it is important to write your statement first… that could focus the mind!
     
  6. DuncanDisorderly

    DuncanDisorderly

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    Thanks for the info.
    I'm also a bit of butterfly and that caused me problems with my A-panel.
    I've heard it said that you cannot gather your best images and make a successful A-panel; in my experience that is reasonably accurate.
    The panel needs something to bind it together, either a visual theme or a narrative, and these need to be introduced by the statement.
    Hence starting with your statement is the recommended way forward.

    My panel only just squeaked through in Visual Art; one of the problems was my statement which was written to fit the images I already had.
    I may have had a different response in Travel as I could have easily altered the panel to only include images from a single destination - live and learn - but a pass is still a pass :)
    For your amusement, here's my panel and statement:
    http://www.wild-landscapes.co.uk/Catalogues/ARPS/26003544_sm8QNf
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
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  7. jbw

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    Nice ARPS panel Duncan - most impressed by your web gallery as well !
    James
     
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  8. viewfromthenorth

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  9. Chipper

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    Hi Duncan - thanks for posting that. Love your 'scapes.:clap: Over how long a period did you take them? Thanks for taking the trouble to post.
     
  10. Chipper

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    Hi thanks for this.:) I read your first blog but couldn't see what I had to do to find the others you referred to. All good food for thought. Doing my 'L', I realised that the process, the learning was really very important. I know my weakness is post production - not fond of computers and have had a copy of Lightroom untouched for months [oops] - so no doubt that will have to be part of it too. Thanks for taking the time to post.
     
  11. viewfromthenorth

    viewfromthenorth

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    You should be able to navigate through the posts by clicking on the links at the very bottom of the page, past the comments.
     
  12. DuncanDisorderly

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    Cheers :beer:
    Oldest image in that panel was from early 2009, soon after I got my 5DII which was a huge step up from my 20D.
    But like I said, I wouldn't recommend my approach to gathering images for an A-panel. You'd be far better off writing your statement and then seeing what images you have that are good enough and how many you still need.

    IIRC Andy's BLOG is an excellent read - cracking piccies in there and utterly different to mine.
    If I also remember correctly, his statement and the photographic vision it introduces are far more representative of what the RPS are looking for.
     
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  13. Chipper

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    Hi Duncan - thanks again. I will be starting from scratch - I think only one image I had taken before deciding to have a go after seeing submissions at Focus 2012 survived the feedback from a visit to a not too far away camera club and an RPS meeting! I wish the 'A' events weren't during the week - can't get time off to go to things like that. Anyway, I will be waiting for the result of my application for the next phase of the course I started in November next week - if I don't make it on to the second phase of this course, then it will be the focus of my non-work time efforts… I will have another go at getting the other bits of Andy's blog to appear on my screen as well. Have a good evening… got a bunch of guests coming soon. :)
     
  14. Chipper

    Chipper

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    OK - will go and try again. Thanks.
     
  15. Chipper

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    Well, 9 months on and life has changed and so has my ARPS plan. I retired in July from teaching after 34 years and after a trip away and time to think, I spoke with the chap (thanks Bob) who organises the RPS meetings where I live and so I have abandoned the notion of sport as I wanted a focus that I can work on during the week. I am now going to work towards what is currently called visual arts and will become a Pictorial panel, I think, with the changes in the new year.

    I went and watched an assessment day at Fenton House last week and saw some really great work. It did become clear to me when panels were put up by the afternoon session what is expected and what the pitfalls are, at least applied to the 24 or so print panels that I saw. If anybody is interested, I can post the themes and what the key points I took away from the day were. I would also be interested to hear from anybody that is in the process of preparing for an 'A' - thanks for reading.
     
  16. Blank_Canvas

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    Hi Chipper, I am also taking my 'A' next year and still working on my portfolio. Happy to hear any tips you picked up from Fenton House. Good luck with your endeavours.
     
  17. Chipper

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    Ok. Will do... :) Need to go fetch my notes. Hope to get this done tomorrow, especially as the weather is supposed to be vile! :(
     
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  18. Chipper

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    Hi there. So, there were 2 digital panels.mthese were played twice through. I admit to not taking much notice..the images, were of course, huge and went by twice. One was very mixed and descrIbed as having no flow. Another we're HDR shots, self portraits in a variety of situations at home, in the garden, on a skate board, fallen from a skateboard (amusing)... Went to a vote and the chAir cast his vote for.

    Topics in the printed panels: people in various situations on the underground, Versailles, dye dropped in water (thought it was smoke at first), water in bubbles/drops very colourful, hands, one guy's 5 sons in a variety of situations B+W, buildings lines, shapes etc, lotus flowers x 2, old boatyard, dancers (referred on to Professional,Applied panel, nudes (rejected for mix of abstract and standard ones and a few techniques that jarred eg placing a woman in a scene where she wAs too large for the scene ie perspective, blurring part of the same plane of an image and the rest being sharp), water patterns, (rejected for too much repetition with the comment of needing to find the abstract in reality)' horses (referred for technical issues - burnt out, colour cast, over sharpening - thought it would be for mixing the abstract with the norm as per nudes... ), fighter jet, bits of, buildings b+w from HK- really good... Children in Asia being happy- referred on for technical issues, HDR not liked; mix of abstracts not liked for not flowing, tech probs; fishermen's yard details, very positive, retained for website; own black and white drawings on Polaroid old film,,,very strange, squares... Got the thumbs up for being so strange, I think! another which mixed black and white with colour, which divided the judges and was referred- had three triptychs down centre column- the black and whites were weak...didn't write down the content- sorry! One final panel was also referred for repeating an image cropped from one of the other abstracts, small, bright colourful.

    So, what did I learn?
    - Well, be very clear about what is in focus and make sure it looks deliberate; two panellists were VERY focussed on technical issues.
    - It can be ok to mix black,white with colour. But not always.
    - don't waffle on in your statement of intent- Some really did sound over the top and were way too long (limit coming into force next year) and make it easy to see that you have met your own requirements. Don't be clever (or a smart a***) and make references that a judge might not get (one statement referred to somebody that clearly was not recognised
    - black card mounts were ok - worked for bright bold panels,
    - make sure the panel looks like the 16th element of your work- well panelled work always was commented upon
    - be abstract or not but avoid mixing the two as the two panels which did this were not well received
    - textured papers worked well
    - 16x20 is not compulsory!


    Hope that is of some use. Good luck with your panel. Have you worked out a subject yet?
    All the best
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  19. Blank_Canvas

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    Hi Chipper,
    Many thanks for your advice, some real echoes of the L panel in there too. That's very interesting reading.

    My original intention was to put a professional panel together on applied forensic photography (nothing graphic or violent) however, I have been working on a project called 'York - a City for all seasons' and am in the process of collating images. I have decided to go down this route instead as I think it's more of an interesting study.

    Do you have a theme yet ?
     
  20. Chipper

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    Hi Nick yes - I was going to do sport as you may have read above but now I am working on abstracts found in birds…getting them pin sharp is proving tricky at the moment… but they are cropped so will just have t increase the iso and see how we go. If you are doing York, lovelyplace, will you be entering it as a Travel panel? I remember one bit of feedback for that - "it has to make people want to go there" - I bet there are all sorts of things on in York through the year as well. Good luck… keep in touch on this thread with your developments. All the best.
     
  21. mortimerhill

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    My advice would be:

    attend a distinctions advisory day, so that you get your work reviewed before the formal assessment. Take 20-25 images to that, not just the 15 in the initial selection

    Make sure you have a short well written statement of intent and that your work fits that statement of intent

    Make sure your work is of the highest technical quality you can achieve

    If you're going to show prints rather than projected images, don't make the prints to large, often A4 size or similar is big enough. This can help with technical quality as too big a print can lose sharpness

    Make sure that your work does not include any of your L panel images.
     
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  22. Chipper

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    Hi all. Thanks for your input Simon. so I have been working in Lightroom now and am waiting for a couple of fine art paper prints to come back from DSCL. Hope they get here soon. How is your project going Nick?
     
  23. Chipper

    Chipper

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    Bump...any news Nick?
     
  24. Blank_Canvas

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    Sorry! Have been phenomenally busy of late. I'm still collating images and going through them with a critical eye. Will be batch printing them at some point with same paper, chemistry, for continuity when I'm intently happy with them but I'm my own worst critic.
     
  25. Chipper

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    Yes, eventually, you cannot see them at all, I recall, from doing the 'L'. I am in Herefordshire. Where are you? I am waiting for my first set of pictures to come back from DSCL, not fine art, just lustre this time. I quite liked the fine art paper but it is too pricey for this stage of the proceedings. All the best :woot:
     
  26. Chipper

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    Well, took a major setback yesterday. Seems my cropped images of birds' feathers are not abstract and therefore have to be pin sharp which they are not due to the cropping.... they are close ups. Not sure what I can do about this...extension tubes were suggested by the Felow who looked at them. Having looked on the net, these seem to be used for small static objects or insects... Very glum today. :grumpy:
     
  27. Chipper

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    Bounced back... Still working on my images... Merry Christmas. How are you going, Nick?
     
  28. Chipper

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    Well... After months of working, I presented my panel today. The first guy who stood up praised it to the skies and I thought I was in... The next 2 guys clearly didn't like it and criticised various elements, contradicting each other in some elements. Very disappointing as it was then voted down. Really fed up as the criticism was not explained - no reason why some images "didn't work". Completely different comments from advisory day.. Back to the drawing board... Not sure I will tho. Lot of time and money. No decision to be made yet, however. It will be interesting to see how they frame this mixed bag of feedback. Have put it under the stairs!
     
  29. viewfromthenorth

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    I can empathise - I went to an FRPS workshop a couple of months back and my panel got slaughtered. Some of it was justified, some of it wasn't IMO, but given who the feedback was from, I have to take notice. It kind of put me off things for a while and demotivated me, but I'm starting to see new opportunities and have got some new ideas, and I feel I'm back on course.

    Don't give up, wait until you hear for definite, and if the feedback you get is a bit shallow, ask to speak to one of the assessment panel for some more constructive feedback. Even if you haven't passed this time, I'm sure your photography will have improved as a result of the journey you've gone through?
     
  30. Chipper

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    Hi Andy..thanks for responding. Yes, I have developed, improved and learnt a lot, particularly about Lightroom and the techniques Used. It is so frustrating that all Feedback from the advisory was positive, from another fellow on the VA group of Fellows was positive...and from the first guy was extremely positive :clap:and he got it and then these other guys just didn't like it and made general comments which they then didn't explain. I would go back to Slimbridge to work on this Pictorial panel tomorrow to keep going but honestly, when the naysayers even contradicted each other, I haven't a bloody clue what to do! :banghead: My club chairman has said to press the restart button... I will bounce back- of course I will, but the fellow who approved explained very clearly why - he really got it - and the others who didn't couldn't explain it and it really shouldn't be about their personal preferences. They approved reflections, graffiti, coastal seascapes... Traditional subjects... Ah well... I was going to treat myself to a lens as a reward if I passed :(.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  31. DuncanDisorderly

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    It hasn't been mentioned in this thread so far, but IMHO the most useful thing anyone thinking of L, A or F can do is to attend the RPS Celebration of Distinctions. It's this Sat in Bath, but is held every year.
    The people who set the standards for admission get up and talk about lots of successful panels from last year.
    I believe the show travels to other parts of the UK, but Bath is the biggest and is the one key people will definitely be presenting at.
    I attended when I was thinking about my A, and it is only with a healthy dose of hindsight that I now realise how important (and useful) that day was.

    I'm attending this Sat to get a feel for whether my cave photography project is suitable materiel for F and how much I need to raise my game before putting a panel together.
    I'm not doing this project to put a panel together, but it would be wonderful if I can.
    It's a ridiculously tough environment to photograph, which largely explains why there are only a handful of cave photographers in the UK and why so few cave images appear in the photographic community.
    For example, last night it took nearly four hours of demanding physical activity and a healthy dose of adrenaline to set up and take just two shots at separate locations - this is one of the images and I'm dead chuffed with it at the mo. :)
    [​IMG]

    Unexpectedly, I've been bitten by the caving bug and I wish I'd discovered it years ago.
    Which brings me back on topic...
    One of the messages I came away with from Celebration of Distinctions was being passionate about the subject matter; it unconsciously comes through in the images.
    I didn't appreciate the importance of that comment. If I was re-doing my A then I'd approach the whole thing differently. At the time I was in love with the Inner Hebrides, but my panel was a mix of landscapes from all over the UK. My panel lacked purpose and emotion. If I'd tried to capture the essence of remote Scottish islands during the Winter months I believe my panel would have been far stronger.
    I had stopped thinking about F, largely because I didn't have something to bind a set of images together. But with my new-found love for cave photography I've got something that is easy for me to enthuse about.

    Sorry for the ramble, hope it makes sense.
    Oh - and treat yourself to that lens - you've earned it!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  32. Chipper

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    Hi there. Well I attended two assessment days as an observer, an advisory day... Advice from a fellow who was doing an advisory day in her own region..all positive... 3 guys decide they don't like it. Doesn't seem right. I did not like some of the ones that passed but I did appreciate them.. They didn't explain. They didn't even agree... Anyway, good luck with your caving and thanks for taking the time.
     
  33. viewfromthenorth

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    If you think A is unpredictable, you should try the F! On the workshop I went to, there was a chap who had done some conceptual stuff inspired by the Russian suprematist artist Malevich (which everyone including the assessor agreed was brilliantly done, but at the far end of the spectrum of originality and hard to predict whether it would be accepted) a panel of South African people in townships (brilliantly done, but to my mind not terribly original), some clocks, macro seascapes, and my industrial stuff which was criticised for a lack of cohesion (which I kind of knew), variable print quality (hmmmmm......) and was apparently not original as someone had done something like it in the 1980's.....
     
  34. Lindsay D

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    Yes, this is one of the reasons why the F can be so challenging and why there are so many failures. If you put anything before the judges which they believe they have seen before then you are instantly disadvantaged. I suppose that's understandable since the F is about defining yourself and moving away from the crowd. That didn't used to be the case - back in the 80s and through some of the 90s F panels were judged mostly on technical ability and printing skills. It's much harder now to get any of the distinctions. These days at the BIPP you're also expected to submit a lot of supporting evidence as well - in addition my F had to consist of a printed portfolio showing a full body of work and I think in the end I showed close to 40 images. You can at least be thankful that the RPS only requires 20 prints!
     
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  35. Chipper

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    Well... the F may be capricious but my experience at getting an 'A' seemed to be based on 2 judges' personal preferences and they only passed the kind of things that I had seen before including the old pier stumps into the lake, reflections on buildings, graffiti... very frustrating when the first Fellow stood up and seemed to say out loud everything I had hoped it would be seen as. I met my SoI, it was original work... and the naysayers did not even agree with each other. Waiting for the feedback is equally frustrating as I have no idea how to reboot as they contradicted each other. I suppose the Fellow who praised it then did not write anything positive down either ... the sarcastic comment about the mount size, which I measured and did proportionally, was not appreciated either.
     
  36. Lindsay D

    Lindsay D

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    The A doesn't have to be wholly original in nature, but it is expected to demonstrate a degree of personal style and a high level of technical control.

    Sometimes there can be a degree of subjectivity coming into play and I have often seen Fellows disagree to an extent on panels. If there is a divided opinion, there is then an opportunity for the other Fellows to address any objections from their peers, and the aim is that negative objections are discussed, understood, and where appropriate obviated. I'm not all that familiar with the RPS assessment process (if that's what you're talking about) but at the SWPP and BIPP there will be five or six Fellows in attendance, and they will only be judging the subjects in which they have specific expertise. I agree that when there is conflict amongst the assessors it can be frustrating and unproductive. I strongly feel that given your grievances you should put this into writing to the Chair of the assessment board (if you haven't already). Having said all of that, a failure is disheartening and blaming the judges for discord or inappropriate commentary is fairly common when a panel has not been successful. I'm not saying that is you, but it does happen quite a lot. Approaching the negative judges in person is perfectly acceptable and I would always advise getting a proper debrief.
     
  37. Chipper

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    Hi Lindsay,
    Thank you for taking the time. There were only 4 male judges; one was very critical of everything apart from the more traditional topics I referred to above. I am more resigned to my fate but will be watching closely what comes on the feedback.

    At one point, I could hear the moderator and the chair conferring about whether I had double exposed for an image but of course I couldn't say anything and the Fellow who came to our club told me not to explain... I did email this to the distinctions guy and reception when my first email bounced back as an out of office reply. I will ponder your suggestions. I am already considering signing up for another advisory day, coincidentally with a fellow who advised me locally and another fellow who was at my original advisory day... Waiting to hear what our local chap Thinks of that idea... the bouncing back begins.

    With the RPS there is written feedback sent out with a month to reply. The timing of this could be difficult for me with travel plans. I was going to ring them today but it is another assssment day and nobody would want to discuss it, I am sure. I hear you about Blaming the judges. If they had explained why things "hadn't worked" that would have been easier to take and enable me to do something about it. It does seem draconian, this system to just be yes/ no. Especially when one guy was mixed about it. If there was a system such as the ones that exist in diving or gymnastics, it might be more just. as for the size of the square mounts suggesting I didn't respect my work., well, that just hacked me off and seemed unprofessional. Who would go through this and not respect their work?! Thanks again. :)
     
  38. Lindsay D

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    Hi Chipper, I think these days there can sometimes be a conflict between 'old school' and newer Fellows who are starting to sit on the judging panels. I have seen this before one a couple of occasions and I know that several of the photography bodies have successfully addressed this in the last couple of years. I can't comment on the RPS unfortunately as I haven't sat in on any of their processes (in fact I resigned last month). At this point it may be worth weighing up whether or not the RPS is the right body for you - they all have different flavours and some are better suited than others to certain genres. I'm glad you have tried to follow through on the feedback you were given (or lack of). I'm wondering if your particular submission was unusually creative, which may have caused the division of opinion. I have seen that as well - sometimes a judge can have a gut reaction if the panel isn't following traditional lines. However the benefit of dialogue during the assessment can help to resolve this most of the time. From what you are saying it sounds to me like the judges who regarded your panel is being a pass perhaps didn't argue the case. Opinions can vary with creative submissions and it will be interesting to see what kind of feedback you get if you put it before another advisory day! It's always worth identifying if the sticking point was the flavour of the panel, or whether or not it came down to a couple of the images proving to be contentious - the latter can easily be remedied.

    Sometimes the photographer is given a choice between the yes/no system and the numeric scoring system (which I had for my Licentiate and Associate panels) - from what I've seen, the latter returns more fails.
     
  39. Chipper

    Chipper

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    :ty:

    Hi Lindsay,
    Thank you very much for this. It has made me sit and think what it is that is offending my sense of justic and I realised that my integrity and honesty was questioned; the chair and moderator discussed an image, questioning if I had used a double exposure. I could hear this, the audience could hear this and of course the judges could hear this. This would be the equivalent of using PS levels and I do not have nor do I have access to PS. This would have been cheating and meant I should have entered a different category. I had no right of reply. The guidelines say that discussions should take place with the whole team outside, in private. I also raised the quality of the negative feedback and the insulting comments about my mounting - the suggestion that I did not respect my work and was being tight with card!! How anybody would think that, let alone verbalise it, made my jaw drop... Anyway, I emailed the distinctions manager as I could not find a contact e mail for the chair. I have been very measured and reflective - ranting never gets anybody, anywhere.

    Thanks again.
     
  40. Lindsay D

    Lindsay D

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    That reminds me of something I witnessed a few years ago when I was watching an Associate panel being judged. It was a motorsport panel, and a very good one. I was listening to the judges discussing the images and one of the judges remarked that the photographer had placed 'fake blur' on a section of the photo. I looked at the photograph and it was very clear to me that he was referring to natural heat haze coming off the exhausts. Luckily another judge explained this to him, but my jaw did drop at the time. I do think that if any confusion arises about the creation of an image then the Chair of the judging panel should be allowed to address the candidate (if they are present). In your case it sounds as though you would be perfectly justified in raising a complaint. I hope you get a reply although in my experience the RPS are not always as responsive as they should be.
     

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